The 2014 NFL season begins tonight. TONIGHT! For the next 5 months, you will not be able to avoid football in most DC bars. You will be able to avoid football in these bars.
This list doesn’t include venues or art spaces. We love 9:30 Club and The Howard, but they’re not bars, they’re venues that happen to have bars. We love Little Miss Whiskey’s and while they don’t have televisions, they do have a projector and play New Orleans Saints games, so they’re off the list. Without further adieu, your 2014 list of Best Bars Without TV In DC.
- 1314 9th St NW
If you want to hang out in Shaw and near our office, head to Shaw. We included A&D in our Least Douchey Bars In DC 2013 edition because it’s relaxing, calm and fancy but not too fancy. It’s a good place to drink and act like a non-sports fan adult.
- 917 V St NW
If you like beer and friends and waiting in line to drink beer with friends, you probably already like American Ice Company. In fact, if you’re reading this while it’s dark outside, there’s a high likelihood that you’re currently waiting in line at American Ice Company. Who knew that simple and quality would work for multiple years? Crazy.
- 1811 14th St NW
If you’re a punk rocker that does not care about Fantasy Football, Black Cat is open. The Red Room is a bastion of no team sports (billiards is a sport played by individuals who sometimes happen to be on teams). It’s the only bar located in/next door to a venue that is on the list. We would have loved to include Satellite Room and DC9, but those pesky screens sometimes feature images of men playing with balls. The Black Cat does not care about men playing with balls. The Black Cat, specifically the Red Room, cares about people that love punk music, post punk music and other things with punk in the description (check out the jukebox), tall boys of PBR and shots of whiskey. Also, bring cash. Cash only.
- 1839 7th St NW
If you’re a seafood and not Seahawks (they won the most recent Super Bowl) fan, this newish restaurant/bar is great, ideally if you’re a supporter of fine cocktails. This is the first of three Derek Brown and Angie Salame entries on this round-up, the duo are making it easy to avoid sports on 7th Street.
- 1819 14th St NW
If you’re a fan of bottomless brunches and want to spend next Sunday wasting away in Margaritaville but can’t stand the idea of going somewhere named after a Jimmy Buffet song, head to 14th.
- 919 U St NW
If you want the loud, boisterous atmosphere of a big game bash, go to U Street. U Street usually feels like a large scale sporting event just let out. The Mexican spot will be loud and crowded but does not have television. It may feel like the big game is on and everyone is very excited because the man did the thing, but it’s just loud.
- 2009 14th St NW
If you hate, hate, hate all things sport, go to the darkest bar in DC. Dark, intimate, no place for large groups to scream and/or shout, no light beer spelled ‘lite’ and fancy cocktails. If Let’s Play Musical Bartenders is on the menu (the menu changes regularly), I highly recommend ordering the bitters-based cocktail.
- 1843 7th St NW
If you love ham but not the kind of ham that is served at sports bar (there has to be a sports bar that serves ham), the second of our Derek Brown and Angie Salame entries is hamtastic. When their other 7th Street establishment Southern Efficiency opened we referred to Mockingbird Hill as, “the sherry and ham church.” I think that tells you all you need to know. So do the photos. Sherry and ham.
- 1905 9th St NW
If you like what we like, you’ll want to spend most of your off nights at 1905. The home of our Beaujolais Nouveau party is the home of some BYT staff’s birthday parties and anniversary parties and fun life parties and more. We love this place. We love the darkness of the second floor bar and the brightness of the third floor roof deck. We love the drinks and the food and we love our annual wine party. We love being able to hide from other parties at 1905.
- 1021 7th St NW
If you enjoy a large groups of friends but prefer conversation over viewing, this Shaw establishment may be ideal. It does get loud, but it’s not testosterone driven. It’s driven by cocktails, wooden tables and large groups of people that work on the Hill and just got off work and “Wooo!” I hear a lot of “Wooo!” in The Passenger. It’s a fun, Pam from The Office style, celebrating for all the right reasons “Wooo!”
- 2337 18th St NW
If you’re a fan of The Raven but want better beers or Red Derby and don’t want to climb a hill on 14th, Pharmacy is your best bet for a no frills, quality jukebox, darkish bar without having to worry about creepy dudes or ladies.
- 515 15th St NW
If you like views of things you can see in ‘real life’ instead of via a screen, the rooftop bar of the W is great. Even if you have an office building Mall view, it’s going to be too cold to enjoy being outside. Be almost-inside across the street from the White House. It doesn’t hurt that they currently are highlighting a winter cocktail menu. It’s not open for opening night, but it should be up and running by week 2.
- 8401 Georgia Ave, Silver Spring, MD
If you’re in need of an amazing burger, go to Silver Spring. The basement restaurant/bar/venue will be cool about all of your dietary needs. You need to eat a giant burger and onion rings. You should eat a giant burger and onion rings on game day, regardless of the who is playing. Hell, you should do this once a month to remember how great food that’s horrible for your heart can make you feel like you have a full heart. A meat-filled, high cholesterol, aching heart. Clear eyes, cholesterol filled heart, can’t breath.
- 3234 11th St NW
If you’re in the mood for red and white, go to 11th. The home of wine and drinking and fire and patios and adult conversation, Room 11 caters to people that like to converse instead of pound things.
- 1205 U St NW
If you need a classic bar, go to The Saloon. When we compiled our first Least Douchey Bars In DC feature The Saloon made the list. When I asked Facebook what bars I should in this roundup, The Saloon had the most votes. When I visited DC for the first time and I wanted a ‘real’ bar, I went to The Saloon. This U Street tavern features beer and wooden tables and that’s about it. It shouldn’t be there and thank god it is.
- 1841 7th St NW
If you’re looking for a bright, new space on 7th, the final entry from Derek Brown and Angie Salame is now open. The place has over 30 different types of bourbons so I’m a fan.
- 1101 Kenyon St NW
If you’re in need of recovery from a place you might have visited the night before, this Columbia Heights anchor is the problem and solution. The Wonderland is a weekend destination for people that like to dance and rub on each other and give the place a bad name. I know this. I do a show there. But it’s not like that all the time. Trust me. It’s a place I wouldn’t recommend from 10pm to close on Friday and Saturday night. Every other time, it’s a delight. The staff is great, the music, both via iPod and regular like Ian Walters, is well suited for drinking and there are multiple vegetarian options for non-meat eaters. If you drank too much on Saturday, consume a high calorie brunch on Sunday morning, go home, sleep and head back for a football-less Sunday evening.